Milosevic extradition talks fail
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- Yugoslavia's government has failed to agree on a draft law to secure the extradition of ex-President Slobodan Milosevic to an international war crimes tribunal.
Leaders of the two coalition partners, Montenegro's Socialist People's Party (SNP) and Serbia's reformist DOS alliance, called off talks late on Sunday without agreement.
The stumbling block is Montenegro's insistence that each of the two republics should reserve the right to design their own clause when dealing with extradition of accused war criminals within an overall general model, local media reported.
Montenegrin officials had met earlier in the day to discuss their strategy, which would focus on a law of co-operation with the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague without simply handing over suspects.
The Hague's main target, Milosevic, is currently in a Belgrade jail, where he has been held since April 1, on a series of charges.
He has been served an extradition order, by the U.N., for alleged war crimes.
Failure to agree to a government compromise could jeopardise much-needed international financial aid.
The government has held two meetings in the past week in an effort to reach a deal before an international donors conference in Brussels on June 29.
Yugoslav Prime Minister Zoran Zizic, deputy head of the SNP, said he still believed a compromise solution would be reached.
"The government is not in crisis," he was quoted by Reuters as saying.
"We shall see how it will be solved, but what I expect is that we still will agree."
He added that the Montenegrin side was willing to agree to the draft, but with the clause reservation.
Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica said the Montenegrin offer should "be carefully reviewed."
Further talks are planned in the coming days, Serbian Justice Minister Vladan Batic said.
Montenegrin consent is crucial for the law to be passed in the federal parliament.
The United States and its partners have tied further financial aid to co-operation with the U.N. tribunal.
Failure to adopt the law could trigger a federal government crisis and threaten future relations with its international donors.
The government, while not ruling out Milosevic's extradition, has said it wants to try him first at home for alleged corruption.
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